Learner: Passionately Pursuing Knowledge

A CliftonStrengths Theme Spotlight

"People exceptionally talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. The process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them." -The Gallup Organization

The Talents of People High in Learner

People high in the Learner theme are eternally curious. They find life intriguing and are often interested in numerous and diverse topics. Additionally, Learners tend to retain information quickly and have great memories. When others get discouraged about what they don't know or feel unable to process information fast enough to keep up, Learners catch on quickly and often can't understand why others don't feel the same.

When we work with clients high in Learner, one of our favorite questions to ask is, "What do you love to learn about most right now?"

We've heard all sorts of responses. Sometimes Learners love to learn about things that will impact their work-life or bring value to their organization. Other times they report loving to learn material outside of their workplace and career - perhaps spending their free time learning a new language, teaching themselves how to build websites, watching history documentaries, or reading biographies of successful entrepreneurs.

When working with others, people high in Learner bring a learning perspective and excitement for the learning process. They are often humble about what they don't know and eager to fill the gap in their teams and workplaces. Because of this, they often keep their teams on the cutting edge.

Those high in Learner need dynamic working environments in which they can gain exposure to new ideas, information, or experiences. Because of this, they often report loving positions in which they get to take on new projects and learn a lot in a short amount of time. One Learner we know put it this way:

"I've always loved to learn and I get bored very quickly if I'm working in an environment that is too predictable or one in which there are no new learning challenges. I've noticed that others are sometimes resistant to new ideas or methods because of the fear of a steep learning curve. That actually motivates and propels me in my work - the challenge of learning something new."

The Temptations for People High in Learner

Because people high in Learner love the process of learning, and not necessarily in order to reach a goal or produce something tangible, they can sometimes struggle to act on their learning or demonstrate the value of the learning when working with others. Others might perceive them as lacking a focus on results, having a lot of "worthless information" or being "bookish," or "too academic."

And because Learners are often well-read and know at least something about many topics, others can sometimes label them as "know-it-alls" who complicate plans or interject when it isn't necessary.

When working with teams, sometimes those high in Learner report being tentative to act because they don't feel like they are experts in the material yet. This hesitation can hinder the productivity of the team. Additionally, those high in Learner often take for granted that they can process and retain information so easily. As managers, they might get frustrated if they train a team member once and it seems like he/she isn't catching on right away.

The same Learner we mentioned above noticed this in his management and had this to say:

"I forget that others can be more intimidated by new and challenging information. I used to expect my team members to jump in, take initiative to learn, get up-to-speed quickly, and apply whatever needed to be applied to reach the outcome we needed. One of my team members had an emotional and angry moment with me one day and told me, 'I am not getting this as fast as you want me too - I don't learn as fast as you do! You're going to have to give me some more time.' It hit me that I was taking it for granted. I was expecting them to do something that didn't come as naturally."

Action Steps for the Person with Learner

Here are a couple of quick ideas to get you thinking about how to leverage and self-regulate if you've got a dominant Learner theme:

  1. Look for opportunities to take on new and challenging projects and initiatives. Does someone need to research and report back with a strong synthesis of the information? You are likely to thrive when asked to complete such tasks.

  2. Consider partnering with someone high in an Executing theme such as Restorative or Focus. These individuals will help you implement and execute on what you've learned and you will help them ensure their goals and plans are backed by evidence-based research.

  3. When leading a team or working with others, make sure you communicate clearly about your desire to stay on the cutting edge. You want to be thorough and educated in your plans and initiatives, and it's important to you to stay curious as a team.

At ROI Talent Development, we try to help people fall in love with every single talent theme, even if it isn't dominant in their own theme sequence. Because when we all take the time to understand and appreciate one another, we build happy and healthy workplaces where employee talents are valued and developed.

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